Top tips from parenting expert to help your kid overcome anxiety about going back to school

A parenting expert has revealed her top tips to help kids overcome anxiety about going back to school. 

Most kids are back at school on Monday and with that comes anxiety that can affect kids of all ages. 

The anxiety can be down to a range of things, including a new school or teacher, more homework or making friends.

Parenting Place presenter Dayna Galloway joined AM on Monday morning and was asked what are some telltale signs that kids have got anxiety about going back to school.  

"It could be they've got the words and they're telling you, 'I'm feeling anxious, I'm feeling worried' or it could be procrastination, that's a big one, like not wanting to get out of bed, not wanting to get their uniform on. That could be a sign that they're overwhelmed and just wanting to slow it down and not go to school," she replied.  

"It also can be physical, so it could be a sore stomach. You might find every night your kid is saying to you, 'I've got a sore stomach' or 'I've got a headache', so they can be some of the things." 

Galloway said parents should get "curious" about this and try to figure out why their child is feeling this way.  

"You want to try and help them name it because to have a healthy, rich life, you want a broad range of emotions," she said.  

"There are no bad or good emotions, but there are difficult ones and uncomfortable ones, so we want to be able to help our kids identify it and then help them walk through it so they don't get stuck."  

Kids aren't the only ones that battle with first-day nerves, AM co-host Lloyd Burr revealed he struggled with returning to school as a kid. 

During the interview with Galloway, Burr said he used to get anxious about returning to school "chronically" and his mother had to "throw me onto the school bus".  

"I'd sit there in the front seat, and I would hate it, so I had separation anxiety," Burr said. 

"I was shitting myself."  

Parenting Place presenter Dayna Galloway.
Parenting Place presenter Dayna Galloway. Photo credit: AM

Galloway was asked for her advice for older kids who might be worried about getting bullied at high school or making friends.  

"I was actually talking to a friend the other day whose child's been anxious and they were reminding them that you've done hard things before and you can do this again," she said.  

"That's a really great thing when your brain is going everywhere that they can focus on and giving them examples. Remember when you started that new class last year and you were worried about what it was going to be like? How did that go? What did you find helped then? And then they can be reminded that I can do this hard thing again."  

Galloway also had some good tips for kids worried about making friends.  

"If it's friendship thing, actually encouraging them to hang out after school, getting those friendships connected can be really great and I always talk about how smooth morning starts the night before," she said.  

"So if your child's feeling anxious doing little things like getting the uniform ready, making sure they've got their bags packed, even the lunch boxes there ready to go can help because if you can have a morning where you can connect with them, that it's not just go, go, go, then it's going to have a better start to the day for you and for your kids." 

Watch the full interview above.